In the first part of my Getting Started with LinkedIn series, I focused on seven basic, yet core areas you need to nail to get your journey on the platform off to a good start. Today, I’m going to show you a few of the ways you can take your LinkedIn game to the next level.

First and foremost, let’s not forget that LinkedIn, like every other social network, is all about engagement – building your professional network, adding value to conversations and establishing yourself as a reputable source of knowledge on subjects/topics that are close to your business.

What works on LinkedIn:

· Focus on personal profiles – building personal brands and expertise
· Thought-provoking questions
· Starting and participating in discussions
· Sharing opinions (video or text)

What doesn’t work on LinkedIn:

· Simply sharing links to your website
· Using LinkedIn Pages (unless you invest in LinkedIn ads) or LinkedIn Groups to market your products/services, unless there are some active groups in your industry.

Renewed focus on groups

Interestingly, LinkedIn looks to be showing some renewed love for groups on its platform. In fact, a notification was recently sent out to group owners informing them of just that.

As part of the changes, LinkedIn is going to add two new features:

1. New navigation and notification options – a direct link from the home page and more notifications about group activity

2. Videos in groups – while it’s not exactly groundbreaking, it is, nevertheless, a new feature for LinkedIn groups and one that will encourage engagement (yay!).

While I’m not saying that LinkedIn groups are going to be game-changing for businesses, the renewed focus is definitely something to consider going forward.

The bottom line, though, is that no matter how many new features LinkedIn launches, the main purpose of this platform is professional networking. It’s about connecting with people, engaging in conversations and building relationships.

5 strategies for leveraging LinkedIn successfully

1. Have a strategy

First and foremost, you absolutely must have a strategy. And that doesn’t just apply to LinkedIn, but every social media platform out there. You need to know who your target customers are and what their pain points are. After all, it’s these pain points you’ll want to be addressing in your content.

Set yourself clear goals from the start based on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to raise your brand awareness, grow your network, drive traffic to your website/landing page to get more leads, build relationships with strategic partners or establish yourself as the expert in your industry/niche?

This post on the CoSchedule blog has some great tips to help you build an effective LinkedIn strategy.

2. Listen and engage

Actively search for interesting conversations and look to follow interesting people. Take note of their problems, needs, struggles and preferences. This will allow you to shape your own posts to address these problems (if applicable).

Once you know who you want to talk with, comment on their posts, share their posts and start new thought-provoking conversations on your profile. Don’t just expect people to start following you without you first showing an interest in what they’re doing. Get online and talk with people!

3. Use Video

Native video is still a fairly new feature on LinkedIn and there’s not that many people using it, which means now’s your chance to get ahead of the game. As with every other social platform, video on LinkedIn is inevitably going to be a big deal.

Why not try talking head-style or selfie videos where you simply talk to your connections about something that’s relevant in your industry/niche. Their candid, unpolished nature makes these types of video really appealing and easy to engage with.

4. Follow vs. connect

You actually don’t need to connect with everyone straight away. Instead, you can follow them first to see if their updates are relevant to you and you can start building conversations with them first. Once you’ve warmed up the lead, it will be much easier to connect.

It’s far more rewarding to build meaningful, two-way relationships than just collecting people on your profile. Oftentimes, people focus too much on vanity metrics, like how many followers they have, but this usually doesn’t convert to tangible rewards.

5. Be genuine, but stay professional

Even though LinkedIn is much more casual than it used to be, it’s still nothing like Facebook. it’s still THE professional network out there, so keep your content and comments professional. You can be genuine and personal, but keep your baby pictures and cat videos for Facebook or Instagram.

How are you using LinkedIn? Are you doing things I haven’t mentioned? For sure you are! I’d love to know what’s working for you. Let me know in comments or tweet me at @lenkakopp.

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